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Smoking in pregnancy

This information is for you if you smoke and are either already pregnant or thinking about having a baby. It is also for you if you are exposed to tobacco smoke at home.

Partners and relatives of women who smoke may also find it helpful.

The harmful part of smoking to you and your baby is the tar and carbon monoxide along with 4,000 other chemicals and not the nicotine itself. 

Key points

  • Smoking in pregnancy is harmful to you and your baby
  • Passive smoking can also harm you and your baby
  • The risks of smoking during pregnancy are serious, from premature delivery to increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or sudden infant death.
  • If you smoke, the best thing you can do is to stop. Stopping at any time in pregnancy will help although the sooner the better as it gives your baby the best possible start in life
  • You should stop completely (rather than just cut down), ideally before getting pregnant
  • You and your partner will be offered help, advice and support to stop smoking
  • You will be offered carbon monoxide (CO) testing early on your pregnancy journey (Due to COVID-19 pandemic CO readings have been suspended).
  • Switching to stop smoking medicines such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help stop the cravings and reduces harm.
  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is safe to use during pregnancy but seek advice from health professionals for products suitable for you. 

It’s never too late to stop smoking and your healthcare team will be supportive throughout your pregnancy.

Professional health bodies, such as Midwives, GPs and Public Health all back switching. Contact your midwife or GP for advice on stop smoking medicines (NRT).

For more information on smoking in pregnancy visit NHS Smoke free

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